By Frank Lewis
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted on Thursday released the post-general election voter fraud report based on a review of cases by Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections and the Secretary of State’s office following the 2014 Gubernatorial Election. The report identified 42 irregularities with 14 individuals being referred for additional investigation or prosecution.
Scioto County Board of Elections Director Julia Gearheart said there were no reported cases of voter fraud in Scioto County.
“The findings of this report demonstrate once again that voter fraud exists, it’s rare and we are holding people accountable for their actions,” Husted said. “Voter fraud, no matter how rare, reduces the confidence in our system of elections and it can’t be tolerated.”
In January 2015, Secretary Husted issued Directive 2015-01, instructing all county boards of elections to adopt policies to review substantiated allegations of voter fraud or voter suppression. This is the state’s second voter fraud report, the first having been issued by Secretary Husted after the 2012 Presidential Election.
Of the 42 irregularities, the largest numbers came from Hamilton County where 25 irregularities were reported by the county and two matters were referred to the county.
Additionally, Ohio again participated in a cross match program with other U.S. states in order to identify individuals who may have voted in more than one state’s elections. This found two individuals who allegedly cast a ballot in Ohio and other states, Kentucky and Illinois. Secretary Husted will refer these two cases to the Attorney General for further investigation and possible prosecution.
The additional 12 cases were identified by county boards of elections and referred to the proper county prosecutor. The board reports have turned up zero cases where a voter was denied a ballot and no referrals have been made as a result of voters claiming suppression.
Husted said it is important to note that every case of alleged fraud identified by the boards of elections that included a voter attempting to cast multiple ballots was thwarted and no potentially fraudulent ballots are suspected of deciding an election.
“This report shows that the systems we have in place to ensure fair and honest elections are working and Ohioans should rest assured that their vote matters,” Husted said. “Anyone who may attempt to cheat the system in Ohio should be warned: We will find you and we will hold you accountable.”
Husted said the efforts to ward off fraud and hold people accountable are important because every vote counts and a single vote can often change the outcome of an election. In fact, in the May 2015 Primary and Special Election alone, five outcomes across Ohio were decided by a single vote or tied. Seventy-five races have been decided by the same margin over the past two years. In Scioto County the Valley tax levy was decided by a single vote after a recount was performed.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.